The 'scary-looking' view of Hurricane Michael from the International Space Station

Waves crash along a pier as the outerbands of hurricane Michael arrive in Panama City Beach Florida

Hurricane Michael, the most powerful storm the United States has seen in almost 50 years, is moving through the Florida Panhandle, ripping apart homes and sending walls of water rushing inland.

What does Hurricane Michael have in store for the Carolinas?

There is "one hurricane-related fatality", Olivia Smith, public information officer for the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners, said.

Carol Cathey boards up her daughter's business in Mexico Beach, Florida, as Hurricane Michael approaches.

Measured by barometric pressure, Michael ranks as the third-most-intense storm on record to make landfall in the US, according to the National Weather Service.

Supercharged by abnormally warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Category 4 storm crashed ashore in the early afternoon near Mexico Beach, a tourist town about midway along the Panhandle, a 200-mile (320-kilometer) stretch of white-sand beach resorts, fishing towns and military bases.

Michael is moving across southwestern Georgia with damaging winds across the central and eastern Panhandle of Florida as well as southwestern and south-central Georgia, with storm flooding still occurring along the Gulf Coast, the NHC said.

Hurricane Michael continued to batter the Southeast, pummeling states with powerful rain, wind and flooding.

The threshold for a Category 5 hurricane is 157 miles per hour maximum sustained winds.

"We're sending them out now", Scott said.

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A hurricane warning was in place from the Okaloosa/Walton county line to the Suwannee River and a tropical storm warning was in effect for north of Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Duck, N.C., and Pamlico and Albemarle sounds. This would result in minor tree damage and some scattered outages. Michael is expected to produce storm surge - typically the deadliest part of any hurricane - of up to 14 feet, smashing local records.

Measured in this way the lower the pressure the stronger the hurricane - Michael was the most powerful since Hurricane Camille in 1969. The combination of winds and storm surge will absolutely devastate portions of the Florida coastline.

Hurricane Michael will also cause almost one million people to be without power, not just on the coast but inland as well in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Michael is the fourth Category 4 hurricane to hit the U.S.in just 15 months, joining last year's trio of Harvey, Irma, and Maria - an unprecedented string of catastrophic hurricane disasters. Search and rescue crews were expected to escalate efforts to reach hardest-hit areas and check for anyone trapped or injured in the storm debris.

Kirsten Fiscus, a journalist, was less than 25 miles (40 kilometres) away in Panama City when Michael's eye made landfall.

"It feels like a nightmare", she said."Looking at the pictures, I'm thinking there is not a house left in that town".

At this moment hurricane Michael is still impacting areas such as Tallahasee and onwards into Georgia with hurricane force winds and hence damage potential continues and loss amounts will still be increasing as Michael tracks further inland.

The National Weather Service office in the state capital Tallahassee issued a dramatic appeal for people to comply with evacuation orders.

"We can rebuild your house, but we cannot rebuild your life", Scott said at a press conference Tuesday, warning that "this storm can kill you". According to The Weather Channel, no Category 4 hurricane in historical records dating back to 1851 has ever made landfall in the region.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency on Tuesday for 92 counties in his state, and a state of emergency also was announced in North Carolina.

As the hurricane moves out of Florida, Scott warned that flash floods and tornadoes are still possibilities and said "the weather is still extremely risky".

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